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Senator Johnson’s stop in Aberdeen as part of his Tour of Thanks

November 2, 2014
Senator Tim Johnson in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 10/28/14

Senator Tim Johnson in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 10/28/14

On October 28th Senator Tim Johnson made a stop in Aberdeen as part of his Tour of Thanks. Senator Johnson has been serving in DC since 1987 and is going around the state to thank constituents as he retires at the end of this year. Since this is the last time Johnson is likely to do any events in Aberdeen I thought it would be worth while stopping by and see what he had to say; and more importantly what the local legislative Democrats that I knew would be in attendance would say. Overall the event was more of a thank-you fest than anything. There really wasn’t anything to report from this event, but since I was there I will do a blog post anyhow. I’ll just pass on what was said without much editorializing.

Before speaking they had a short presentation showing highlights from Johnson’s career. One notable tidbit from that is that Johnson started serving the in the State Legislature in 1978. He has definitely had a long political career.

When speaking Johnson said that he felt he has done every type of political event, but he had never done a true thank-you type of event like he is doing in this tour. He noted he will be working up until his last day in office at the end of this year. He list off a few of the projects he helped to get going in Aberdeen and for NSU. Senator Johnson said it has been a pleasure to serve South Dakota in DC, regardless of any individuals politics. Johnson kept his remarks very short.

After Johnson’s brief remarks the audience was allowed to make remarks to the Senator. First up was SD Democrat Party Chair Deb Knecht. She basically asked what South Dakota would do without Senator Johnson. Knecht then went on to thank Sen Johnson on behalf of the Democrat Party.

The next speaker (I missed her name) wanted to thank Senator Johnson for being the “Chairman of the very powerful Banking Committee”. She went on to say that Johnson always seemed to listen to the Credit Unions and was always straightforward about banking issues.

Then Democrat Brown County Commission candidate Louis Liebig stepped up for a few words. He mentioned Senator Johnson showing up for a food drive being done by the USPS. Liebig said the mail carriers had voted Senator Johnson number one.

A nice lady then went up to speak and say she is tired of people that are not nice or decent. She thanked Johnson for being decent.

Someone then spoke to thank Sen Johnson on behalf of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE). She said Johnson had always helped to fight for civil servants and NARFE is lamenting losing supporting in the Senate. Then she did a plug for Weiland because they are afraid of what will happen in the Senate if Johnson’s seat is lost to the Democrats.

Arlen Hansen then spoke for a couple of minutes on behalf of the National Farmers Organization (NFO). He wanted to thank Senator Johnson on behalf of the NFO for the support Johnson had given them over the years. He noted at a recent event event he found out NFO has over three hundred members in Brown County; and that there are only six Republican NFO members in Brown County. Hansen then said that if more Republicans were supporting the NFO he doesn’t think there would be the marketing issues for cattle and grains that exist today.

A veteran then spoke up to thank Sen Johnson for what he has done for Veterans. He also appreciated that Sen Johnson had a son that served, which could not have been easy being in DC.

Then Monica Hale (wife of District 3 Democrat House candidate Pat Hale) stood to thank Senator Johnson for the help he had given back when she was the Director of Safe Harbor. At that time Safe Harbor was worried about where they would get funding, and Senator Johnson came through for them. And of course she got a plug in for her husband Pat in the election.

The last speaker was District 2 State Senator Chuck Welke. He just wanted to understand how Senator Johnson was able to get the energy to keep so active in politics. Welke also said Senator Johnson was a great example of “how you do it”.

As I basically said at the beginning of this post there wasn’t any substance to this event. Personally I’m not a big fan of Senator Johnson (he is very partisan and according to OpenCongress votes with Democrats 97% of the time, I fear his likely replacement will be the same for the Republicans). But he has served in DC for a long time so I thought I would pass this post on to anyone that wanted to read it. Plus it was good to be at an event that wasn’t focused purely on the election…

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